Affinity Publisher 10 reviews | creative block

When reviewing Affinity Publisher and Serif’s Affinity suite in general, it’s easy to talk about these apps simply in terms of viable alternatives to Adobe software. Yes, Adobe has been around for an eon, Serif much less. But these days, Serif’s three offerings – Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher are considered very powerful tools in their own right.

It’s still worth repeating the price difference, though. Affinity Publisher, like the other apps, is available for a one-time payment of $54.99 / £47.99, for Windows or Mac. Adobe InDesign by comparison, as a standalone subscription, costs $20.99 / £19.97 per month. Affinity Publisher and InDesign both round up our best desktop publishing apps, and Affinity’s offering sits right at the top of our InDesign alternatives guide.

Another thing worth repeating, and we’ll leave it there shortly, is Affinity’s wide compatibility – meaning you don’t need the latest software to run it properly. You can run Affinity apps on macOS 10.9 or later and Windows 7. In fact, Affinity Publisher, like Designer and Photo, is capable of handling large documents while ensuring continuous fluidity. Working on a slightly older Mac has recently meant that Adobe is just a no-go zone for me. It’s as slow as molasses, and often it doesn’t work.

For professionals who are just used to Adobe, who have the technical know-how and the money for the endless subscription, then these things need not be considered. But the price on the other hand.

With all that in mind, let’s move on and take a look at what Affinity Publisher has to offer professional or beginner desktop publishers.

Affinity Editor Review: UI


Everything should look familiar here and is easy to learn if you’re new to it. (Image credit: Ben Brady)

Anyone familiar with desktop publishing should feel right at home here. A clean and highly navigable user interface means that even if you’re new to tools like this, you’ll be mastering Publisher in no time. The large number of Affinity video tutorials will guide you quickly. The videos, by the way, are mostly made by the Serif team itself, which, it must be said, are almost all designers themselves. Designer software, built by designers, makes you feel like you’re in good hands.

You have your usual suspects left in terms of tools; a contextual toolbar above (switching context depending on the tool you have selected); your main adjustments on the right of the page; plus the ability to add, hide, move, and place a host of other adjustment panels via the studio menu at the very top.

The most interesting element and inclusion here is the top left corner where there are three Affinity app icons. However, this only applies if you have all three Affinity apps. This “Studio Link” means that you can change what in Affinity are called “personas”. This basically means that you can switch apps with one click. You can work on an image in Photo or Designer and then return to Publisher, all in the same interface. It certainly cuts down on the time it takes to open other separate apps to make adjustments or changes, and needless to say, it’s great for workflow.


Vector cropping and text wrapping is smooth and easy to do (Image credit: Ben Brady)

After initially setting up your document, document/delivery setup and general preferences are all accessible in the context toolbar, when the move tool is selected, making it very easy to reach, just under the “persona” buttons.

Here are some highlights of the tools section, which contains just about everything you would need or want for a job like this:

The Shape drawing tool – There are several shapes to choose from. After watching a short video, I draw, capture, color, and design stylish layouts. The different colored lines for snapping and placing work really well and it’s very intuitive to lay out and organize things. If you decide to add texture or noise to a shape, just click the Designer persona button and your tools will suddenly go into design mode – very smart.

Artistic Text – Just below the Frame text tool (what you would use to place most of your text) is the artistic text tool. Its purpose seems to be for titles and small pieces of text that will stand out more on the page. The ability to fine-tune different typefaces, i.e. decorate, position and transform, is very easy to do. You’ll be creating eye-catching titles and headings in a snap.

Vector Crop Tool – Not limited to vector images, this can be used to crop and tweak any image placed in your document. Instead of just grabbing a corner or side of the image and stretching or squishing it, so to speak, the vector crop tool lets you cleanly cut out images that are already in the right place, which just need a cut.

A number of other features should also be mentioned to appease those who are unsure about investing in Affinity. Master pages are used to edit a large number of pages simultaneously and are very easy to use for adding elements such as page numbers or guides and columns for text and image placement. Master pages are easily “erased” on each individual page, to add variation in layout.

Affinity Publisher also makes it easy to place and format text the way you want. Text linking is also very simple, so the text follows from one image to the next. Just like placing images over text. Publisher works in layers like other design programs, and with a single click of “show text wrap settings” you can edit and adjust the text as you wish to fit the image.

Affinity Publisher Review: Should I Buy It?


Easy-to-use master pages allow you to simultaneously change the layout of large documents (Image credit: Ben Brady)

At $54.99 / £47.99, Affinity Publisher’s price is very tempting indeed. Serif often has discounts and offers too, so it’s worth keeping an eye out. A 30-day free trial should be enough to get used to, especially considering the amount of great video tutorials.

A free trial will also give you the option to download all three Affinity apps and play around with switching between characters, which is a unique feature and a great time saver.

For someone looking for design and publishing software for the first time, you definitely need to invest. If you’re switching from Adobe, if the idea of ​​being subscription-free hasn’t already made up your mind – then the idea of ​​having three apps, in one clean, easily navigable package, all running fast and in unison should do it.

Specifications – Mac

  • SE 10.9 – 12
  • Mac with Apple M1/M1 Pro/M1 Max chip or Intel processor
  • At least 4 GB of RAM
  • Up to 2.8 GB hard drive space
  • Minimum display 1280×768
  • Supports DCI-P3 standard, Retina and full gamut displays

the Windows

  • Windows 7, 8.1, 10 and 11
  • Windows PC (64-bit) with mouse or equivalent input device
  • Hardware GPU Acceleration*
  • DirectX 10 and higher compatible graphics cards
  • 4 GB of RAM minimum
  • 938 MB of available hard disk space; more during installation
  • Display size 1280×768 or better

Read more: Affinity Designer Review